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Old 9th November 2011, 01:07 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Default Chillanum Khapwah or ???

If a Chillanum has a re curved double edged blade and a Khapwah has a double edged single curved blade. What are straight bladed Chillanums types called?
Maybe it doesn't matter! The photo of the display case shows both types of Chillanums from the Plunder of Adonis, that Jim mentioned recently. Both, Pant and Elgood identified the first two types. I'm unable to find what, or if, the straight bladed version has a separate name. Thanks , Steve
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Old 9th November 2011, 03:28 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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As in many cases with edged weapons, particularly ethnographic forms, terminology is a slippery slope plagued by semantics, transliteration and outright errors in description (as jamadhar vs. katar in Egerton). The weapons of India are by far most formidable in classification.

As noted in the description of the 'khapwa', it is with a curved DE blade, while the chilanum term seems to be primarily focused on the double crescent splayed pommel resembling leaves open with central bud...the blade on a typical chilanum is DE and recurved rather than simply curved.
There seem to be a range of variations in this 'family' of daggers which are believed to have either Rajput or Nepali origins ("Arms & Armour: Traditional Weapons of India" E. Jaiwent Paul, New Delhi, p.70). The chilanum, at least in the hilt, seems to have first been recorded in miniature paintings of latter 16th c. ( "Arts of the Muslim Knight" p.143).

Moving to the very well placed question on the examples of these characteristic chilanum hilts with straight blades rather than the typical recurved blade and whether there is a separate term with this difference.
In reviewing various sources and examples, it would seem there is no different term.

In Paul (op. cit. p.69) a chilanum with jade hilt , 18th century Mughal is shown with straight blade, in description it is noted, "...unlike this specimen, chilanums have double curved blades".
In 'AMK' op.cit. #174, another chilanum 'type' all steel dagger is shown with straight blade, no distinction toward the straight blade or other term used is made.

The example shown with straight blade and splayed pommel with the red background appears to be the form of dagger typically associated with the Kafirs of what is now Nuristan and of the Kalash people of Chitral. These are termed 'katara' and interestingly parallel the straight blade 'punch dagger' well known as the katar which of course have transverse grip. The straight blade and term are where similarity ends.

The term 'katar' according to 'AMK' (p.143) means 'piercing dagger' (as opposed to the correct term for the transverse grip form 'jamadhar' which means 'death tooth'). Perhaps leaning toward technical terms, these 'chilanum' with straight median ridge blades may be classified 'katar', however it is better to leave them in the chilanum group for the sake of whatever order may be found in the terms to avoid further confusion.

If this hasnt confused all of you, it sure has me!
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